Staff Report #6 – 2019 Specialized Transit Service Performance Report

Staff Report #6

February 26, 2020

To All Commissioners

Re: 2019 Specialized Transit Service Performance Report


That the report be NOTED and FILED.


The 2019-2022 Business Plan, London Transit’s vision is: “The valued and trusted mobility choice for Londoners”. The vision is supported by the mission statement, “Moving Londoners – progressively, reliably and affordably”. The vision and mission statements give direction to five congruent and competing strategic outcomes, namely:

  • An integrated, affordable and valued mobility choice
  • An engaged, diverse and respectful workplace
  • Demonstrated fiscal accountability
  • Being open, transparent and understood
  • Effective utilization of infrastructure

Service performance is measured in terms of fiscal accountability (efficiency), service (effectiveness and quality), and communication (accuracy and quality of information provided).

Specialized Transit Service – Efficiency

The following table provides a summary of ridership and revenue service hours actual to budget performance for 2019 (unaudited). Actual ridership and service provided, as well as the related measures were consistent with budget expectations.

2019 Ridership and Service Hours – Actual versus Budget (unaudited)

Description Actual Budget Amount Better (Worse) Percent Better (Worse)
Revenue service hours (000’s) 147.1 150.1 3.0 0.8 %
Ridership ( 000’s) 333.4 353.5 (20.1) (6.0)%
Rides per revenue service hour 2.3 2.4 (0.1) (4.3)%

The following table provides comparisons in the various ridership and service hour measures over the past four years.

Ridership and Service Hour Comparisons – 2016 through 2019

Description 2016 2017 2018 2019 % Change Over Period
Revenue service hours (000’s) 122.6 134.8 145.2 147.1 19.9%
Ridership (000’s) 286.7 306.1 329.4 333.4 16.3%
Rides per revenue service hour 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.3
Registrants 7,445 8,215 8,990 10,691 43.6%

As indicated in the table above, there have been improvements in all measures over the four year period 2016 through 2019, with the exception of the rides per revenue service hour which remained constant. The improvements in all other areas are the result of the implementation of the service improvements in each of the years as part of the multi-year operating budget. Of note, the registrant base for the service grew at more than double the rate of the service hours that were added over the period.

Voice of the Customer

Specialized service customers participated in the Voice of the Customer survey process for the first time during the 2018 survey, which was completed in late November/early December of 2018. The questions for the survey were tailored to be specific to the specialized service, in an effort to provide feedback on areas identified by customers as requiring attention.

At the October 30, 2019 meeting, the Commission approved deferring the 2019 survey to 2020 subsequent to a review of the program. Given this deferral, the 2018 survey results will be utilized in this report as the most current data still representative of passenger perceptions.

Impressions of the Specialized Service

This area of the Voice of the Customer survey measures satisfaction levels with LTC service including measures ranging from the convenience of the service to the cost of the service. The table below sets out the percent of survey respondents that agreed or strongly agreed with statements regarding the service.

Voice of the Customer Perceptions – 2018 Survey

Service Statement 2018
Trips available at the time needed 72%
Booking a trip is easy and convenient 51%
Vehicles arrive within 30 minute window 84%
Time on vehicle is reasonable 88%
Vehicles are clean 96%
Vehicles are comfortable 88%
Vehicle lifts are in good working order 99%
Drivers safely secure my mobility device 96%

The move to a new booking system in 2018 and the time required for both customers and call takers to adjust in all likelihood had a negative impact on the rating for the ease of booking a trip. While the number of telephone lines was increased as part of the upgrade, there continues to be a rush first thing in the morning as customers try to get through to secure their desired trips. This will continue to be the case as long as the demand for trips outweighs the availability.

In addition to the Voice of the Customer surveys, customer satisfaction levels with service performance are measured through tracking both the number and nature of customer contacts received via email, social media and phone. When considering these numbers, it is important to recognize that not all contacts are investigated and as such, cannot all be confirmed as accurate. Contacts that are serious in nature or those in which the customer requests a response are all investigated.

The table below sets out a breakdown of the number of service complaints over the three year period by category, as well as a percentage change in each category over the period.

Total Service Performance Complaints by Category 2017-2019

Complaints – Service 2017 2018 2019 % Change
Accessibility  2 7 6 200%
Early Schedule  5  2 6 20%
Late Schedule  13  22 10 (30)%
Missed Passenger  10 10 12 20%
No Show  57 58 57
Routing 12 6 3 (75)%
Service received 136 153 98 (28)%
Trip Availability 16 10 22 (38)%
Warning Letter Response 12 1
Total 251 280 215 (14)%
 Per 1,000 riders  0.82  0.85 0.65 (21)%

The top category of complaints over the period has remained “service received”, which includes issues such as length of trip, drop off locations, pick up locations, as well as others complaints that may encompass more than one of the categories listed in the table above; however, it should be noted that complaints in this category have declined by 28% over the three-year period.

The second highest category over the period is “no show”. On the specialized service, a driver waits at a pickup location until five minutes past the time that was booked with the customer. Once five minutes has passed, the driver confirms with the trip assigner that it is ok to leave. This policy is in place in order to mitigate the negative impacts that customers running extremely late, or those that have decided not to travel but have not cancelled their trip can have on the on-time reliability of the service. When this occurs, the event is recorded as a “no-show”, which, should a customer continually exceed the average number of no shows in consecutive months, can result in suspension from the service. Contacts counted in this category are reflective of customers calling to challenge or provide rationale for a “no show”.

Impressions of Driver Performance

Another area of the specialized service measured by the Voice of the Customer surveys from 2018 covers Driver performance expectations. As set out in the table below, survey respondents indicated a high level of satisfaction with Driver performance.


Voice of the Customer Perceptions

Service Statement 2018
The drivers are friendly 93%
The drivers are helpful 93%
The drivers operate the vehicle safely 93%

Consistent with service related contacts, customer contacts (complaints and compliments) regarding Driver performance are also tracked and trended. Performance results for 2016 through 2018 with respect to Driver complaints are set out in the following table. When comparing the number of complaints from previous years, either in total or by category, it is important to remember that ridership and service levels have also increased. The total complaints per 1,000 riders provide a normalized indication of the level of escalation in complaints year over year.

Total Operator Complaints by Category 2017-2019

Complaints – Operator Performance 2017 2018 2019 % Change
Driving Unsafe 21 30 21
Attitude/Treatment 75 103 89 19%
Total 96 133 110 15%
Per 1,000 riders 0.3  0.4 0.3

As indicated in the table, in total, complaints in 2019 decreased over 2018. The extensive amount of construction projects in London in both 2018 and 2019 resulted in a number of locations being intermittently difficult or impossible to service with specialized transit (in which case drivers will drop customers as close to their final destination as possible), which resulted in an increase in complaints with respect to drivers not providing a consistent service. This issue was particularly problematic in and around the construction relating to Dundas Place given there are a number of popular destinations for specialized transit customers in and around that area that were inaccessible during the majority of the construction period.

In the case of complaints alleging a significant Driver performance issue, all information is forwarded to the contractor for investigation and follow-up. All contacts received relating to the specialized service are followed up on by administration.

Driver performance compliments are also tracked and trended, and while up slightly in 2019, remain relatively consistent with the three year average. The chart below sets out the trend in Operator compliments over the period of 2017 through 2019.

Total Operator Compliments by Category 2017-2019

Compliments – Operator Performance 2017 2018 2019 % Change
Driving 1 0 0
Attitude/Treatment 14 18 29 107%
Total 15 18 29 93%
Per 1,000 riders 0.05 0.05 0.08 60%

Going Forward

This report will be shared with the Accessible Public Transit Service Advisory Committee as input into discussions relating to priorities for both 2020 as well as the following three years. As indicated in the Draft 2019-2022 Business Plan (see Staff Report #8, dated March 27, 2019), with the implementation of the new scheduling software complete, a primary focus in the next business plan horizon will be opportunities for better integration between the conventional and specialized services, and will require a review of a number of the policies and practices currently in place for the specialized service, including but not limited to the booking window.

Recommended by:

Christopher Murphy, Supervisor, LCTB

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager